- Publisher: Penguin USA
- Format: Paperback | 272 pages
- Dimensions: 126mm x 194mm x 22mm | 259g
- Publication date: 1 November 2000
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 014130975X
- ISBN 13: 9780141309750
- Sales rank: 24,128
Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Free Hillfolk. When Corlath, the Hillfolk King, sees her for the first time, he is shaken -- for he can tell that she is something more than she appears to be. He will soon realize what Harry has never guessed: she is to become Harimad-sol, King's Rider, and carry the Blue Sword, Gonturan, which no woman has wielded since the legendary Lady Aerin bore it into battle, generations past.
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Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for "The Hero and the Crown" and a Newbery Honor for "The Blue Sword." Her other books include "Sunshine"; the "New York Times" bestseller "Spindle's End"; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast," "Beauty and Rose Daughter"; and a retelling of the "Robin Hood" legend, "The Outlaws of Sherwood." She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.
By Julie Cooke 28 Aug 2010
I first read this book at least eight years ago. I found it at the library, and went to my local book store and had them order it in for me. This is the story of Harry Crewe who finds herself leaving home after the death of her father, and entrusted in the care of her brother Richard - who she has not seen for several years. Soon after arriving in Damar, the outpost Richard is posted to, strange and interesting things begin to happen, and she soon finds herself caught up in events that will change everything.
In more recent novels, magic has become something of a tool. Take Harry Potter for example, it's a you do this, you say that, and the pin has turned into a duck. In this book, magic is more an uncertain force that can make you act, even if you are most unwilling.
This is an excellently realistic fantasy novel, with a heroine you can be proud of - she is not one of these wussy heroines who seem to populate so many novels. The world is expertly created, no need to suspend your disbelief here, you do so automatically as everything seems perfectly reasonable and believable as you read it. The book is rich in detail, and as it continues, draws you in until you are completely absorbed. I believe the first time I read this, I read it cover to cover in a day (thankfully it was a weekend, otherwise my teachers might have had something to say about that).